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The Nike Romaleos 2 weightlifting shoes are one of the best investments I’ve made when it comes to training gear.

It gave me an immediate performance enhancement in the squat, allowing me to easily hit ATG depth and feel rock solid and stable as if my feet were glued to the floor.

This enabled me to break 4 personal records in the past 5 weeks; on March 9, March 16, March 23 and April 6, 2012. (Note: Since the time of writing, I have hit many PR's in these shoes, which can be found on my "personal records" page)

It’s safe to say that the Romaleos 2 are responsible for making an impact on my recent squat numbers.

Here’s my review of the Nike Romaleos 2 weightlifting shoe:

Review

Mark Rippetoe wrote (in Starting Strength 2nd Edition, p. 61):

Mark RippetoeWeightlifting shoes are the most important personal equipment a lifter can own.

They provide solid contact with the floor and eliminate sole compressibility and the instability of squishy footing.

Get a pair. It will be the best money you spend on your training gear.

I wish I had taken this advice more seriously and invested in a pair of weightlifting shoes right from the start.

I first started squatting and deadlifting with New Balance shoes. It always felt uncomfortable and unstable in these shoes, almost like squatting on a stiff bed. So after reading some shoe recommendations for weight training I purchased the economical, often-used, and way-to-narrow-for-my-wide-feet Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars.

After all, it seems like almost everyone at Westside Barbell uses these shoes, so if it’s good enough for those modern-day Vikings squatting 1000+lbs, it should be good enough for me.

Well, over a year has past since I started wearing those good ol’ Chuck Taylors. It felt more solid than those New Balance shoes, but I could always feel a bit of instability as I performed my lifts. Watching a few videos of myself squatting confirmed this.

I’ve read how other people have switched to wearing weightlifting shoes, and how that made a world of difference when it comes squatting.

I figured I was due for an upgrade, so I began to research on what was the best weightlifting shoe to replace my Converse Chuck Taylors.

Nike Romaloes 2 Vs. Adidas AdiPOWER Vs. 2012 Rogue Do-Win

I was debating about whether I should get the Nike Romaleos 2, Adidas AdiPOWER or the 2012 Rogue Do-Win weightlifting shoes.

2012-Rogue-Do-Win-Weightlifting-Shoes

I have wide feet, and have read that the Do-Win shoes accommodate those with a less than slender foot. It’s the cheapest of the bunch, and have read many good reviews about the Do-Wins. But looking at the pictures of the Do-Wins on Rogue’s website, it doesn’t look as well constructed as the Nike Romaleos 2 or the AdiPower weightlifting shoes.

Adidas-AdiPOWER-Weightlifting-Shoe

For the Adidas AdiPOWER, while they look nice in red, I’ve read that they were on the narrow side, so they were out of the question. It also has one metatarsal strap compared to the Rogue Do-Win and the Romaleos 2 which both have 2. I would prefer 2 straps to make it easy and convenient to secure my foot in the shoe.

Nike-Romaleos-2-Weightlifting-Shoes

From my online research, the Nike Romaleos 2 would be more suitable to accommodate my wide feet compared with the AdiPower, and looked very well constructed. Just like the Rogue Do-Win, it has 2 metatarsal straps, but in opposite direction. Apparently this secures the foot more firmly in the shoe. In the end, mostly because of width, I ordered the Romaleos 2.

First Impressions

Nike-Romaleos-2-Weightlifting-Shoes-01

When the Purolator mailman arrived at my door, he told me that he thought the package he was holding was probably shoes, but it felt a little heavy.

He was right.

Holding the box, it felt like I was carrying a pair of heavy steel toe boots.

When I opened the package, I feasted my eyes on a pair of shoes that would help me break a few personal records in the squat over the course of the next few weeks.

True To Size

I normally wear a size 10 US, and I’ve read that the Romaleos 2 run true to Nike shoe sizing. I didn’t have a pair of Nike shoes to try out, so I searched the internet and found a picture comparing a New Balance shoe and a Nike shoe of the same size.

I can’t find the original picture, but the New Balance shoe seem to be a little bit bigger than the Nike. I’ve also read other people saying the same thing.

I figured that since I wear a size 10 New Balance shoe, and size 10 Nike shoe SHOULD fit.

I’m glad it did, because I really did not want to deal with the hassle of exchanging these shoes for another size!

Take a look at the pictures below to see a comparison of a size 10 Nike Romaleos 2 with a size 10 New Balance shoe, size 8 Converse Chuck Taylors, and for good measure, a size 10 Rockport dress shoe:

Nike-Romaleos-2-Weightlifting-Shoes-23

Nike-Romaleos-2-Weightlifting-Shoes-25

Nike-Romaleos-2-Weightlifting-Shoes-24

Soles

One thing I really like, and what adds to the feeling of stability while lifting in the Romaleos 2 is the width of the soles. It's wider compared to the Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars, and very stiff. I can easily bend the soles of the Chuck Taylor shoes, but I can hardly bend the Romaleos 2 by apply a bit of force.

Take a look at the comparison pictures below and see for yourself:

Nike-Romaleos-2-Weightlifting-Shoes-17

 
 Nike-Romaleos-2-Weightlifting-Shoes-21Nike-Romaleos-2-Weightlifting-Shoes-22
 

Heel

The heel height is 0.75 inches.

From the product description on Rogue’s website:

“The most revolutionary innovation in the Nike Romaleos weightlifting shoe is Nike’s exclusive “Power Bridge,” a contoured TPU heel wedge designed to support the foot and bear as much weight as a man can lift, without any compression or give.

This technology provides a lightweight alternative to the wooden heel wedge that competitors have been using since the 1960s.

The Power Bridge is also a technical advancement because, unlike a flat wood shim, it is contoured to cup the heel, providing stability and comfort under stress. “

In other words, unlike most shoes where the heel is at the bottom of the shoe, the Romaleos 2’s heel wraps around the back of the shoe.

Nike-Romaleos-2-Weightlifting-Shoes-16

Insoles

The Nike Romaleos 2 came packaged with 2 insoles, pictured below:

Nike-Romaleos-2-Weightlifting-Shoes-08

Nike-Romaleos-2-Weightlifting-Shoes-13

“The Nike Romaleos comes with two different sockliners: a softer insert for training and a harder version for competition, when athletes benefit most from zero deflection as power is transferred through the foot.”

The flat ones are for training purposes, and the more contoured insoles are for competition.

I’m of the philosophy that training should mimic competition as closely as possible, so with this in mind, I’m currently wearing the “competition” insoles while I lift. And because it’s contoured compared to the flat training insoles, my foot doesn’t move around as much inside of the shoe.

Experiences

I got these shoes about a month ago. In order to give a well opinionated review I wanted to wear them during my workouts for a few weeks.

The first thing I noticed when I put them on and started walking around is how immobile I felt, and how heavy the shoes were.

It feels as though I’m walking around like Frankenstein, and it sounds like I’m walking around in high heels.

Note: I don't do do any Olympic style lifts like the clean, clean and jerk, snatch etc. so I can't give my opinion on how these shoes perform during those lifts. But here are my experiences wearing the Romaleos 2 while performing the squat, overhead press (power cleaned into position), bench press and deadlifts:

Squat

As I mentioned before, it’s easier to squat deep wearing the Nike Romaleos 2 compared to Converse Chuck Taylors.

So far, I’ve set 4 personal records in the squat since wearing these shoes to train.

It’s also very stable, making me feel like I’m glued to the floor. There’s no rocking side to side or back and forth movement while I lift.

Now, either because of the weight of the shoe or the flatness of the soles, or both, it seems a lot more difficult to adjust my feet when I prepare to squat. It takes a lot more effort to pivot on my heel and rotate the toes slightly out after I un-rack the bar. I had no problems with adjusting my foot position with the Converse Chuck Taylors.

But this issue is really not so bad, because it has taught me to step into a position where I am ready to squat without having to adjust my feet. Also, it goes to show how stable these shoes really are.

Also, performing the squat is different compared to the Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars.

Since the heel is elevated on the Romaleos 2, hitting a below parallel, ass-to-grass squat is way easier. However, the elevated heel tends to shift my body towards my toes during a squat, especially at loads near my 1RM or the last few reps of a heavy set.

Because of this, sometimes the bar movement doesn’t go up and down in a straight line.

Watch the video below to see what I mean:

Now, because of the elevated heel, even though it makes it easier to squat below parallel, I need to make conscious effort to shift my hips back in order to keep the bar moving up and down in a straight line.

Overhead Press

Compared to the Chuck Taylors, I find myself rarely needing to take a step backwards or forward when pressing an heavy barbell over my head. It’s easier to balance the barbell overhead, allowing me to focus on pressing the weight up. It really feels as though my feet are glued to the floor.

Also, unless I’m going for a 1RM, I power clean the bar before OHP. The initial power clean feels as though my feet are landing flat on the floor, which sets me up perfectly for the overhead press.

Bench Press

I’m using the Rogue Flat Utility Bench (review here) during bench press. The height of that bench is 18”, which is a bit high for me, so I use a pair of 35lbs plates on either end of the bench to allow me to get proper footing.

The 0.75” heels of the Nike Romaleos 2 makes it a little bit easier for me to place my feet flat on 35lbs plates. But I really don’t feel a difference benching with the Romaleos 2 compared to the Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. I normally wear the Romaloes 2 because I perform bench presses after squats, and changing shoes for something that doesn’t make a difference would be a hassle.

Deadlifts

Deadlifting in the Nike Romaleos 2 makes me feels more stable, probably because of the super hard and flat soles. The 0.75” heel makes it seem like a smell deficit deadlift. But because of the elevated heel, deadlifting feels a little different compared to deadlifting in the Chuck Taylors (where the soles are a uniform height) or wearing no shoes at all.

I’m probably just going to use the Nike Romaleos 2 for squatting, overhead press and bench press, and wear the Converse Chuck Taylors for deadlifts.

What I Don’t Like

COLORS. Or lack of it.

The Romaleos 2 are black.

I like black. Batman wears black. Darth Vader wears black. Black is awesome.

And on a totally unrelated note, check out how freakin’ awesome this picture is:

darth-knight

Anyways, Rogue Fitness only sells black Romaleos 2. I’ve seen a white version of them floating on the internet, but I’m not sure where to get them.

I’ve seen some pictures of the first generation of Nike Romaleos, and they look SWEET in different colors.

Take a look below at the various colors of the Nike Romaleos 1:

Romaleos-ChinaNike-Romaleo-Colors

Romaleos-1-Red-heelromaleos-greenRomaleos-Red-China

Romaleos-1-white

Since the Romaleos 1 are now discontinued, the only place to find them in different colors are probably on forums, or eBay.

For convenience, I've included the latest listings for "Romaleos" from eBay below. If you're lucky, you might be able to score one of the Nike Romaloes in a color other than black!

Nike Romaleos 3 TRIPLE BLACK 852933-002 15 WEIGHTLIFTING TRAINING GYM CROSSFIT
Nike Romaleos 3 TRIPLE BLACK 852933-002 15 WEIGHTLIFTING TRAINING GYM CROSSFIT $49.99
End Date: Tuesday Jun-23-2020 16:06:48 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $49.99
Men's Romaleos 3 XD Weightlifting White Shoes AO7987-100 Sz 10.5
Men's Romaleos 3 XD Weightlifting White Shoes AO7987-100 Sz 10.5 $49.99
End Date: Sunday Jun-7-2020 18:00:55 PDT
Nike Romaleos 3 Weightlifting Squat Shoes Black White 852933-002 Mens Multi SZ.
Nike Romaleos 3 Weightlifting Squat Shoes Black White 852933-002 Mens Multi SZ. $100.00
End Date: Friday Jun-26-2020 11:23:01 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $100.00
nike romaleos 2
nike romaleos 2 $250.00
End Date: Saturday Jul-4-2020 14:12:24 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $250.00
Men's Nike Romaleos 2 Weightlifting Training Shoe Size 10.5 (5476927-001)
Men's Nike Romaleos 2 Weightlifting Training Shoe Size 10.5  (5476927-001) $128.00
End Date: Sunday Jul-5-2020 13:45:11 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $128.00
New Nike Romaleos 3 Men's Size 14 White Black 852933 101 Trainning
New Nike Romaleos 3 Men's Size 14 White Black 852933 101 Trainning $62.00
End Date: Sunday Jun-21-2020 21:51:58 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $62.00
Men's Nike Romaleos 3 "White". Style: 852933-101. US Size 15.
Men's Nike Romaleos 3 $74.99
End Date: Saturday Jul-4-2020 11:25:11 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $74.99
NEW Nike Romaleos 3 Weightlifting Shoes Triple Black 852933-004 Men’s Size 11.5
NEW Nike Romaleos 3 Weightlifting Shoes Triple Black 852933-004 Men’s Size 11.5 $129.95
End Date: Sunday Jul-5-2020 11:43:31 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $129.95
Nike Romaleos 2 Mens Weightlifting shoes Size 9 (Black)
Nike Romaleos 2 Mens Weightlifting shoes Size 9 (Black) $99.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Tuesday Jun-9-2020 13:21:05 PDT

I wished the Romaloes 2 came in different colors, or even better, have the option to customize the colors.

But in the end, when there’s a heavy ass barbell on your back, the color of your shoes doesn’t matter.

UPDATE

The Nike Romaleos 2 are now available in highlighter neon yellow.

They're called the "Nike Romaleos 2 Volt" and they look pretty nice! Definitely a head turner at the gym.

Nike Romaleos 2 Volt

UPDATE #2

They're now available in RED!

These look similar to the China Romaleos 1 (pictured earlier), but without the stars, Chinese writing and the 08-08-08 on the back. Also, the buckle on these red Romaleos 2 are gold. Now I need to come up with a reason to get another pair of weight lifting shoes...HMM...

Red Nike Romaleos2

Red Nike Romaleos2...sweet!

UPDATE #3

Now they have white & red, black & red, and white & black Nike Romaleos 2!

White & Red Nike Romaleos 2 Weightlifting Shoes

White & Red Nike Romaleos 2 Weightlifting Shoes

Black and Red Nike Romaleos 2

Black and Red Nike Romaleos 2

White & Black Nike Romaleos 2

White & Black Nike Romaleos 2

Overall

I have to admit, $200 is a lot to spend on a pair of shoes.

But then again, I’ve spend thousands of dollars on shitty shoes that have long passed away. I’ve also spend thousands of dollars on bodybuilding supplements that did not produce the immediate performance enhancing effects like the Romaleos did.

Since I’m only using these shoes 3 times per week to squat, bench press, overhead press, and the occasional power clean, the Nike Romaleos 2 will likely last a long time. And I'll be lifting weights until I'm dead, so I'll be using these shoes for many years. The cost per use over time will be low.

If you’re wearing Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars or another non-weightlifting shoe to squat, and you’re looking for something that will make an immediate impact on your technique, squat numbers and give you a rock solid, ass-to-grass squat, I recommend you check out the Nike Romaleos 2.

And if my review wasn't enough to convince you, read what other people had to say about their experience with the Nike Romaleos 2 here (under the tab "Reviews").

I already own a flat bench (Amstaff) but I’ve recently acquired a used Rogue Flat Utility Bench from Kijiji (eBay’s version of Craigslist) for a mere 50 bucks...delivered!

I got it last Saturday, but wanted to use it for this week’s workout before publishing a review on this beast of a bench. On Monday I did bench press 5x5 (Texas Method volume day) and a broke a bench press personal record on Friday (Texas Method intensity day).

A brand new Rogue Flat Utility Bench is regularly priced at $175 USD. But since I’m Canadian, the Canadian price is $207.05 CDN (not including shipping). So the used Rogue bench for $50 (shipped) is a little over $150 off the regular price.

Not a bad deal!

Since it was over 75% off the regular price, and the seller was willing to deliver it to me at no additional cost, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Besides being covered with some chalk finger prints, having an imprint of the back of the head on the bench (which for some reason I can’t seem to get rid of) and sporting some spiderwebs on the underside, the only real issue with this bench was that there was a minor tear in the front end, which is probably the main reason why it was selling so low.

Rogue-Flat-Utility-Bench-06

But the way I see it, it’s a minor aesthetic issue. The tear is barely noticeable (especially if I’m focused on pushing 300lbs+ off my chest, in this case my eyes will be looking up towards the ceiling), and won’t affect the function of the bench at all. I do have some concerns with the fabric ripping even more, which I’ll address below.

The first impressions I got when lining up this bench side-by-side to my Amstaff flat bench is that the Rogue bench is a monster. Take a look and see for yourself:

Rogue-Flat-Utility-Bench-07

When I first started shopping around for a bench, I wanted something that would conform to the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) specifications, just in case I start competing seriously.

From the IPF rulebook:

IPF Bench Specifications

  1. Length - not less than 1.22 m (~48 inches) and shall be flat and level.
  2. Width - not less than 29 cm (~11.4 inches) and not exceeding 32 cm (~12.6 inches).
  3. Height - not less than 42 cm (16.5 inches) and not exceeding 45 cm (17.7 inches) measured from the floor to the top of the padded surface of the bench without it being depressed or compacted.

It looks as though the Rogue flat bench is a little to tall to fit the IPF bench specifications.

Here are the dimensions of the bench that I have been using, along with the Rogue flat bench:

Amstaff Bench Dimensions (My current bench)

  1. Length: 43 1/4” (too short for IPF bench specifications)
  2. Width: 10” (too thin for IPF bench specifications)
  3. Height: 16” (too short for IPF bench specifications)

Rogue Flat Utility Bench Dimensions

  1. Length: 47.5”
  2. Width: 12”
  3. Height: 18” (too tall for IPF specifications)

More On Specifications

The dimensions of the bench shown on Rogue’s website are incorrect.

It lists the bench as 17.5” tall (which would fit into the IPF specifications), but in reality it’s 18” to the top of the bench pad.

Rogue-Flat-Utility-Bench-10

With a width of 12”, the Rogue Flat Utility bench is a lot wider than my Amstaff bench (which is 10” wide). I feel a lot more stable while benching on the Rogue flat bench compared to the thinner 10” wide bench.

Pictured below is the width, and that back-of-the-head imprint on the bench I can’t remove:

Rogue-Flat-Utility-Bench-13

Using The Rogue Flat Bench

This is 18” high, which is quite tall. Especially for a vertically challenged lifter such as myself, towering at a height of 5’4” (or 163cm).

That’s 2” taller than my Amstaff bench.

Rogue-Flat-Utility-Bench-12

At my height, I can still place my feet flat on the ground on an 18” high bench, but I find myself having to stretch uncomfortably to establish firm footing.

On top of that, I find it a lot harder to utilize leg drive during bench press compared to the 16” Amstaff bench. I can’t even push my hips (or butt) off of the bench since I’m stretched out already. Using a pair of 35lbs plates (which are 1” thick) on both sides of the bench helps, eliminating some of the unnecessary stretch I need to do to place my feet on the ground.

Rogue-Flat-Utility-Bench-01

Bench Press Height Affects Performance

While I was training at Columbia Lake Health Club last year for a few months, the height of the bench seemed taller than normal (the adjustable bench that goes along with the power racks). It was probably around 18” just like the Rouge flat bench. It may have been even taller. Using this taller bench, I recall not being able to utilize leg drive during the bench press.

In fact, looking back at my training log, during the time I was benching at CLHC and using the taller bench I was not making much progress. I didn’t even set a personal record while I was there.

This changed when I began training at home with a 16” tall bench, and more recently with the Rogue bench and 35lbs plates to elevate my footing. I even managed to set a new bench press PR of 327.5lbs on the Rogue bench.

Concerns

Feeling the sides and underside of the bench itself, I could see why the fabric ended up ripping.

It feels as though there is a large rectangular pad made of neoprene sitting on top of a smaller rectangular piece of wood. The fabric covers the top of the neoprene pad, and then folded under and stapled on the bottom piece of wood.

Because the neoprene padding and the wood is not the same dimension, the fabric travels diagonally from the neoprene pad towards the wooden part of the bench. This means there will be an empty gap in between the fabric and the where the neoprene pad and wood meets. See below:

Rogue-Flat-Utility-Bench-diagram

Rogue-Flat-Utility-Bench-02

This would make the bottom edge of the bench prone to damage, which would explain why this bench has a tear in the first place.

To move this bench, I would have to grab it on the underside (holding the wood portion of the bench) so that I don’t stress the fabric that’s in between the neoprene and wooden board.

Overall

Rogue-Flat-Utility-Bench-04

This bench would be perfect if it were 17.5” tall (as described on Rogue’s website) instead of 18”!

I will be using the Rogue flat bench instead of the Amstaff bench from now on. The bench pad dimensions (47.5”L x 12”W) fit within the IPF bench specification rules. However the height is just a tad bit too tall at 18”, but I can negate this height by placing plates under my feet while I bench.

If you’re not anal about dimensions, and/or you’re taller than me (5’4”), and you don’t mind the possibility of having to place plates or blocks under your feet to utilize leg drive, then this bench would be fine for you as an all purpose flat bench.

Also, I consider myself lucky for finding this for $50 on Kijiji. However I’m really not certain how often Rogue equipment is listed on classified ads, but if you’re lucky maybe you could find a deal on Kijiji or Craigslist. Keep in mind it probably would be in used condition and exhibit some wear and tear.

But if you want a brand new bench free of spiderwebs and sweat stains, check out Rogue Fitness.

The Burgener & Rippetoe Men's bar (also known as the B&R bar) from Rogue Fitness is a hybrid, jack-of-all-trades, all-in-one barbell for powerlifting and weightlifting movements. It is the best Olympic bar I've ever used, and the price along with shipping costs is very reasonable. Here’s my review of the B&R bar:

Introduction

Originally, I had plans to use the so-called “Olympic bar” that I bought from Kijiji (a classified ads website similar to Craigslist that’s popular with Canadians -- I got the bar with 240lbs of Olympic plates for $170 delivered). But that used barbell was too short for my power rack (it has a center length of about 50”, whereas my power rack is 51” wide). Also, the Kijiji bar was crap. The chrome plating is flaking off, and I would also have to tighten the sleeves every now and then because it would unscrew itself a little every time I power cleaned the bar.

Because of these issues, I had to get a new Olympic barbell.

I wanted a barbell that would last a lifetime, but wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg (such as the Eleiko or Invanko bars).

I also wanted a bar that wouldn’t permanently bend from heavy squats & deadlifts, but also have enough whip for the occasional power clean.

After a lot of research, I decided on the Burgener & Rippetoe Men’s bar from Rogue Fitness.

Up until now, I have only used chrome plated, bolted-at-the-ends Olympic bars that are commonly seen at commercial gyms.

The B&R bar easily blows them all out of the waters.

I’ve read many reviews and user experiences about the Burgener & Rippetoe Men’s bar on forums such as Crossfit.com, Bodybuilding.com & StartingStrength.com, and they mostly had high praise.

Also, it’s designed by Mike Burgener and Mark Rippetoe, and manufactured by York barbell. I’m not familiar with Mike Burgener, but I’ve had success with Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program, and own his books Starting Strength, Practical Programming and Strong Enough? Thoughts from Thirty Years of Barbell Training. Rip’s work is amazing, so when I was choosing a bar to purchase, I expected the same Rippetoe quality to be infused in the bar (if that makes any sense).

Some Details

Burgener & Rippetoe Bar

The B&R bar is designed as an all purpose bar that’s suitable for powerlifting and Olympic lifting. It has dual markings at 32” and 36” apart for powerlifting & weightlifting movements.

The spacing between knurls at the center of the bar is wider than normal allowing a slightly wider stance during conventional deadlifts and Olympic lifts (so it doesn’t scrape the shins).

I believe it’s the strongest bar that Rogue sells, with a tensile strength of 205K. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but apparently the higher then tensile strength, the stiffer the bar is and the less likely it is to permanently bend.

Since I’m focusing on powerlifting movements (and want a bar durable enough that I can pass onto my grand kids), I’m looking for a bar that does not flex as much, and the B&R bar appears to be the best answer.

First Impressions

B&R-Rogue-Bar

The B&R bar was delivered by Purolator (the delivery guy said I had a package that was long and heavy. I wanted to say, “...that’s what she said”). It was packaged in a long, sturdy cardboard tube that was duct taped at both ends.

Burgener & Rippetoe Bar

Inside the tube at both ends was crumpled paper to cushion and protect the ends of the bar.

Burgener & Rippetoe Bar

Overall it seemed packaged quite well, however I did receive a notice that Purolator had to re-tape both ends. I’m assuming the B&R bar came out of the duct taped ends of the package during shipment. The bar arrived fine however.

The first thing I noticed when I cut off the duct tape was that the ends of the bar did not have a bolt on it. All the other barbells I’ve used in a commercial gym had bolts, which I had to tighten from time to time.

B&R Bar

B&R Bar

Taking out the bar, I immediately saw (and felt) the difference in quality compared to the piece of crap I got from Kijiji, along with the other bars I’ve used in the past.

There was no comparison.

B&R Bar

B&R Bar

The bar was already covered in grease. I could see that my hands were greasy and covered in some black substance after taking the bar out of the package. I'm assuming this grease is to protect from rust during shipment.

The look of the bar is different than the bars I’ve used.

The B&R bar is pure steel, and doesn’t have any chrome or zinc plating on it.

When I gripped the B&R bar, the diameter of the bar felt much smaller than I'm used to. The B&R bar’s shaft is 29mm in diameter, and all the bars I have used at commercial gyms felt much thicker.

I have read that men's Olympic bars used in weight lifting competition are 28mm, while bars used in powerlifting can range from 28-29mm. So the B&R bar, at 29mm is at the thicker end of the scale suitable for powerlifting.

Is Bar Straight?

The B&R bar I received has a slight, tiny wobble to it that’s barely noticeable. Heck, I can’t even capture it with my camera, but it is there. In each picture below, I rotate the bar a quarter turn:

B&R-bar-straight-1B&R-bar-straight-2B&R-bar-straight-3B&R-bar-straight-4

Personally, I’m not concerned with this tiny bend in the bar. I’ve seen and experienced a lot worst, and so far this hasn’t affected my training at all.

Stiffness

The B&R bar feels stiff and rigid. Much more stiff than all the other bars I’ve tried in my life. So far, there doesn’t appear to be any bend to the bar at all. The maximum weight I have used on the B&R bar to date is only 407.5lbs. I’m sure at higher loads this bar will not permanently bend, like some of the bars I’ve used at the previous gym I was a member at.

Sleeves

This is my first time using a bar that isn’t bolted at the ends.

The sleeves has tiny ridges on it. I think these ridges are to provide friction so that the weight plates doesn’t slide off during a set.

The sleeves on the other bars I’ve used did not have these ridges and was completely smooth. I have had times where the plates would nearly slide off a bar with smooth sleeves during a set of squats (even when paired with spring collars). So these ridges on the B&R bar is a nice safety feature.

Spin

One side spins more smoothly than the other, but after contacting Rogue, they said it was normal and that I just need use lithium grease in the sleeves.

When I spin the sleeves, it would spin for about 1 second and then stop. To be honest I expected the bar to spin a lot more, but this isn’t really an issue for me because my focus is the slower lifts (i.e. squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press) rather than the faster lifts (cleans, snatches etc).

In the future, I’ll probably end up investing in another bar that’s suitable for Olympic lifts (maybe another Rogue bar or one of the Pendlay bars).

Markings

There are 2 sets of markings on the bar, one for Powerlifting and another for Olympic lifts.

Although this is a nice feature, personally I only use the powerlifting marks, even for power cleans. I’m not sure if I’ll ever make use of the Olympic markings simply because it feels too wide for me. But for other people the dual markings might be more useful.

Knurl

The knurling on the B&R bar feels awesome. It’s not too deep, and it’s not too shallow either. It feels just right.

B&R Bar Knurl

When I grip the bar, it almost feels as though it’s sticking to my hands.

Other bars I’ve used in the past felt a bit slippery (probably because of the chrome plating). But since the B&R bar is bare steel, the knurling is not covered up with any sort of plating so you can feel the full texture of the knurl.

I’ve never used a bar with aggressive knurling, but I’m sure the B&R bar won’t shred up my palms during use.

This bar also has a center knurl, which is one thing I wanted in an Olympic bar. I tend to sweat a lot, especially on my back. The last thing I want is a silky smooth bar sliding down my sweat soaked shirt during a heavy set of squats. The center knurl is definitely a plus when it comes to squats.

Overall

Let me put it this way: the B&R bar is awesome.

Pro’s:

  • Solid, stiff bar
  • Fine knurling makes gripping the bar easy
  • Center knurl keeps the bar in place on my sweaty back while squatting
  • Bare steel looks manly
  • Dual markings for powerlifting and Olympic lifting

Con’s:

  • Because it’s bare steel it will require more maintenance to prevent rust
  • Shipping to Canada took a few weeks so it wasn’t as fast as I hoped (took almost a month! To be fair, I ordered it a few weeks before Christmas and things mail much slower around that time)
  • Doesn’t have a lifetime guarantee like the other bars sold at Rogue

Take a look at the Burgener & Rippetoe Men's bar at Rogue's website for additional details.